Bioinicia develops EAPG: a new, disruptive technology for micro-encapsulation
A new, disruptive technology for the micro-encapsulation of active ingredients into particles has been developed by Bioinicia, in collaboration with the Institute of Agrochemical and Food Technology (IATA), part of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). This cutting-edge proprietary technique, named Electrospraying Assisted by Pressurized Gas (EAPG), is able to mass-produce large quantities of encapsulated active ingredients through a patented, modified electrospraying process.
The standard electrospraying process (electro-hydrodynamic atomization) has many advantages over other methods for the encapsulation of bioactives: it is a room temperature process, has excellent encapsulation efficiency, allows for tight control of particle size, and is a continuous process. However, due to the low productivity of electrospraying (typically in the range of grams per day) there are very few industrial applications for which it is a viable technique. EAPG addresses this limitation by introducing some modifications to the standard electrospraying process, keeping the benefits of electrospraying whilst dramatically increasing throughput and scalability. Current EAPG industrial-demonstration facilities at Bioinicia in Valencia, Spain, can produce from 1-3 kg of dry powder per hour and can be up-scaled to enable the manufacture of tens of kilograms of dry, encapsulated bioactives per hour. This new process dries and encapsulates in a single, continuous step, to obtain powders with particle diameters in the range 1-10 µm.
EAPG is well suited to the encapsulation of thermo-sensitive bioactive ingredients that require protection against degradation, isolation from other components of a formulation or controlled release, for applications in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and functional foods/nutraceuticals. Some examples include: protein-based APIs, antioxidants, pro-biotic bacteria and Omega-3 oils.
Several recent papers focused on micro-encapsulation by EAPG have been published, one of them at the very world-renowned, prestigious scientific journal Science Direct where scientific community publish the latest advances in technology. The paper about this topic is the research of M. Busolo et al., Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies (2018) which address the encapsulation of Omega-3 PUFAs by EAPG performed on fortified reconstituted milk. This paper demonstrates high encapsulation efficiency and effective protection of the Omega-3 oil from oxidation during storage.
This novel technique has been developed and patented by Bioinicia, who have built an in-house EAPG industrial demonstrator, which is available for conducting trials and projects for industrial companies interested in investigating the process for the enhancement of their products.
Bioinicia is a privately-owned company specializing in the development and manufacture of nano and micro-structured materials by electrospinning and electrospraying, offering premium-quality electrospinning/electrospraying equipment, as well as contract materials-development and manufacturing services, means that Bioinicia’s customers can leverage their expertise at any stage in their product development, from concept to commercialization. In 2017, Bioinicia was the world’s first electrospinning/electrospraying contract manufacturer to be awarded GMP certification, enabling the manufacture of electrospun/electrosprayed products for pharmaceutical applications.
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